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How to choose a building Inspector?

When buying a property, a building inspection is the most significant aspect. It saves you thousands of dollars in the long run. According to research, 100% of properties are inundated with building defects. These defects can cost you your whole saving. The building inspection warns you about termite damage, asbestos which is a health hazard, or structural damage, etc. There are many major and minor issues that a professional building inspector is able to detect.

Following is the information on how to choose the right building inspector and avoid the traps.


1. Is the building Inspector Licensed?

The building inspector must be licensed. A building inspection done by an unlicensed building inspector is just a wastage of money and time. Such a report is not allowed for any legal purpose and is not valid to pull out of the sales contract.

Many companies have licenses and they send unlicensed building inspectors for inspection. Ensure that individual building inspector has their own building inspection license.  Make sure to talk to the building inspector and ask for the name and license number.  Search the name through the local registration authority if available. Do not hesitate to see the building inspection license.

2. Do the Inspector have Specific Qualification?

If a building inspector has a license, it does not mean that he/she has the knowledge to do a building inspection. In most states, a licensed builder is licensed to do a building inspection. Building Inspection Council has experienced that builders are not equipped with the knowledge to carry out a professional building inspection.

We recommend that building inspectors must have specific education in the building inspection field such as an advanced diploma in surveying or a bachelor degree in building inspection.  This education trains the individual with specific skills to identify the building defects.

3. Do the building inspector have adequate experience ?

A building inspection is a hand on the job and takes extensive experience to be a competent building inspector.  Building Inspection Council has observed that inexperienced building inspectors are prone to miss major building defects. You ask the following question when hiring:

  • When they achieve the qualification to be building inspection.
  • When they started doing building inspection and with whom.
  • How long they are working in your area and what are the most common issues.
  • Ask them about his experience of picking up issues in a building.
  • Know about any additional courses or workshops attended by the inspector.

These questions will give you an idea about the genuineness of their experiences

4. Do the Building Inspector have expertise in the type of inspection your are seeking?

The building inspector must have expertise in the type of inspection, you are looking for.  There are grossly 9 types of different building inspections (Click here to know about all 9 )and these building inspections need different skills and experience.  For example, New Home Inspectors have experience in identifying poor workmanship, poor quality of material, incomplete work which common defects in new homes. whereas a pre-purchase building inspector will have more experience identifying the water damage, mold, internal water leaks, external water leaks, termite damage, etc. 

So make sure that you choose building inspectors that  has adequate expertise in the inspection you are seeking.

5. Is the building Inspector properly Insured?

Make sure your building inspector is property insured for professional indemnity. Many companies have company insurance and they send building inspector who is not individually covered. This may lead you into hot water when making claims for any damage.

 Do not hesitate to ask for a copy of the insurance cover from the building inspector. There should be a minimum cover of $2M for professional indemnity and $5M for public liability.

6. Is the inspector offering thorough inspection ?

Confirm with the building inspector to provide a thorough building inspection. For example, many building inspectors do not have adequate resources to inspect the exterior of the roof. Ask for the photographs to prove the access to the exterior of the roof.

Ask for the list of parts of houses covered in the building inspection (For the list of parts of the house covered, Click here)  and a list of parts of the house not covered(For a list of the parts not covered, click here) in the inspection.

A professional building inspector should list all major and minor building defects on the property (click here for a list of most common building defects).

7. Are they following Australian Standard AS 4349.1-2007:

The building inspector must comply with Australian Standard AS 4349.1-2007. The objective of this Standard is to provide persons and organizations concerned with pre-purchase inspections of residential dwellings with the basic criteria necessary in order to facilitate inspections and reports that satisfy the requirements of both the client and inspector. This Standard does not include compliance with building regulations or assessment of a building under construction.

The building inspector must have experience and skills to comply with Australian Standard AS 4349.1-2007.

8. What tools is building Inspector using?

By very definition, a building inspection is a visual inspection and does not involve any penetration into the surface. This scope has many limitations and that is why many new tools are part of the inspection these days.

Ask the building inspector which tools they will be used for inspection. Following tools are common during the inspection

  • Moisture detectors
  • Thermal imaging
  • Laser levels
  • Pinhole cameras

An explanation of these tools will help you to understand the purpose of the tools and how these will improve the efficiency of inspection.

9. Do they provide follow up support?

Ask if the building inspector provides inspection follow-up for free of cost. This is the session where the building inspector and client discuss the finding of the inspection report. This helps the client understand the report’s findings and the consequences of those findings.

Although building inspectors are careful of legal suits but you can get some extra information in these after the inspection session. You may know if certain defects are deal-breaker or other defects are superficial.  Not all inspectors are interested to provide this extra service. So you should choose building inspectors that provide follow up service. 

10. Do they allow you to be onsite during the inspection?

Confirm with the company if they allow you to be present at the time of the building inspection.  Any incompetent building company will hesitate to have you on the site during the inspection.

The advantage of being on the site at the time of the inspection is that you can see all defects first hand and nothing is left to the imagination or technical jargon-filled explanation.

11. Do they provide easy to understand report?

To confirm the quality of reports, request a copy of the sample report from the building inspection company.  This report should be in clear and unambiguous language with photographs. The report should be easy to understand to layman also. The bulk of this report should deal with property and building defects instead of standard clauses and legal disclaimers.

12. How much is the price quoted?

The price of the inspection depends upon the size, type, age, and location of the property.  For most of the properties in Australia, you can get qualities building inspection between $400 and $600.  For detailed information on the cost of building inspection, please click here.

Some other precautions

  • Beware of some dodgy claims like “we will fix it if we miss”. These guarantees are bogus.
  • Speak to the individual building inspector instead receptionist. If they do now allow to speak to the building inspector, then drop that company.

The best way to avoid unwanted problems is to hire a local and trusted building inspector. Building Inspection Council helps the property buyer to connect with an expert building inspector in your area for free

The best way to avoid unwanted problems is to hire a local and trusted building inspector. Building Inspection Council helps the property buyer to choose building inspectors  from your area for free